Class1 - Overview of Questions and Concepts Used in the...

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Overview of Questions and Concepts Used in the Study of Economic Class Structure
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Social Theorists on Economic Inequality Social theorists raise important questions about the nature and degree of social inequality Why does inequality exist? How much inequality should a society have? Can we have “legitimate inequality”? What are the tensions between inequality and social justice? Does too much economic inequality lead to political instability?
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What are the broader social consequences of inequality (or social stratification)? Is economic inequality linked to political instability? Or, conversely, is economic equality linked to political stability?
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What kind of society should we strive for? What kind of reforms should we try? Should we try to provide a basic level of support for all? Should we try to create a society where all individuals can develop their talents? Does stratification hinder or advance the development of individual potential?
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Social theorists give us concepts and tools to study social inequality Marxist conception of inequality based on the idea of class Class is defined by people’s relation to the means of production bourgeoisie: own the means of production proletariat: work in the factories to create industrial wealth Marxist theory is not an especially useful framework for understanding the rise and conditions of the middle class.
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Modern conception of class: Income (the money one  earns in a given period  of time) Wealth (the value of all  owned property plus  income) Education Occupation Class position implies  an associated  life style Eton Boys, 1936
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Social Stratification Largely based on Weber’s concept of social inequality
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